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La Grande Mademoiselle at the Court of France : 1627-1693 /
Vincent J. Pitts.
Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000.
xiv, 367 p. : ill., map, geneal. tables ; 24 cm.
0801864666 (alk. paper)
More Details
Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000.
0801864666 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Vincent J. Pitts is an independent scholar in New Haven, Connecticut. He received his doctorate in European History from Harvard University
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2001-09-01:
"La Grande Mademoiselle" was Anne-Marie-Louise d'Orleans, the eldest daughter of Gaston of France and cousin to Louis XIV. Pitt's biography of this member of the Sun King's generation emphasizes her relationships with the rest of the royal family and high government officials. He draws largely on her memoirs, which were published well after her death and for a time were suppressed in France because of their criticisms of figures at the court. Her memoirs reveal the antagonism that Richelieu's policies engendered in her and others of her station and help set the context for the Fronde in which she played an important role in support of the princes. Pitt shows how her place among the elite of the ancien regime provided her with great privilege and luxury, yet made her subject to the king's will in a way unknown to the average subject, as in the rejection of her proposed marriage to a captain of the royal guard. Pitts provides keen insights into French elite society of the 17th century and the place of an intelligent and independent-minded woman in it. Gracefully written, the book has extensive notes and fine illustrations and genealogical tables. Recommended for upper-level undergraduates and above. F. J. Baumgartner Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Review Quotes
"Pitts' lively retelling and his exquisite sense of appropriate context are remarkably effective in bringing out key insights Mademoiselle's narrative has to offer... Vincent Pitts has given us a page-turner, a wonderfully written, intimate acquaintance with one exceptional woman's character." -- Carolyn Lougee Chappell, H-France
"Pitts's well-written and meticulously researched biography of La Grande Mademoiselle provides real insight into the contradictory status of a fascinating early modern woman."--Lianne McTavish, Canadian Journal of History
"The text is at one and the same time a pleasure to read and is supported by a wealth of bibliographical references that give it scholarly depth and credibility."--Ellen J. Chapco, French Review
"Vincent J. Pitts has certainly provided a most readable account of this familiar figure in French history, and gives a clear explanation of the manoeuvrings and conspiracies of leading families during her years of adolescence... For readers who are encountering Mademoiselle for the first time, this book is an admirable and accessible introduction." -- Roger Mettam, English Historical Review
"Greatly helped by the excesses of his heroine, impeccably verified and sustained by the most rigorous scholarship, Vincent Pitts makes us better understand the paradoxes which constituted the essence of the Grand Siècle. The neatness and precision of the narrative make for a pleasant and fluid reading. This is an impressive work of research and mise-en-cadre about such a spectacular Romantic figure, who, along with the fictitious women in Dumas's novels and Madame de Sévigné, remains a popular female character in the collective memory of the French. The richness of the information it contains seems to me fundamental for an accurate understanding of France in the seventeenth century."--Jacques Guicharnaud, Yale University
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, September 2001
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Main Description
Anne-Marie-Louise d'Orlians--a cousin to Louis XIV and known in her time and to posterity as "La Grande Mademoiselle"--is still remembered in France today for her unconventional life and heroic deeds. A participant in the factional struggles known as the Fronde, which nearly consumed France during the minority of Louis XIV, Mademoiselle ultimately sided with a coalition of princes and great noblemen who sought to depose the king's prime minister, Cardinal Mazarin, and seize control of the state. During the fiercest fighting in Paris, she ordered the cannons of the Bastille to be turned on the king's troops, saving the rebel army--a deed that cost her five years of internal exile and the lasting mistrust of Louis XIV. Late in her life, she again shocked the court with her attempt to marry an officer of the king's guard, a proposed misalliance that provoked an enormous public outcry and greatly embarrassed the king. In addition, she was a privileged chronicler of court life, a witness to the ministries of Richelieu and Mazarin and to the most successful decades of Louis XIV's reign. Her "Mimoires," first published in 1718 and initially suppressed in France, remains a major source of information on the period's political and social events as well as a page-turning melodrama of court intrigue. Mademoiselle also left behind a number of other works--literary portraits of the prominent personalities of her day, letters, satirical short stories, and two essays on religion--which, together with her memoirs, stand as an unusual achievement for any seventeenth-century woman, let alone one so high-born and wealthy. In "La Grande Mademoiselle at the Court of France," Vincent Pitts presents acomprehensive and engaging biography of this remarkable woman which draws upon Mademoiselle's writings and his own impressive command of her times. Viewed through her writings, the events of Mademoiselle's life offer a unique pe
Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsp. vii
Introductionp. ix
The Daughter of Francep. 1
A Most Eligible Princessp. 29
The Second Maid of Orleansp. 57
The Pastimes of the Princess Aureliep. 99
A Muse at the Court of Apollop. 129
The Triumph of Venusp. 156
The Mask of Apollo and the End of Illusionsp. 198
The Muse's Lamentp. 233
Mademoiselle's Writingsp. 255
Mademoiselle's Fortunep. 263
Genealogical Tablesp. 269
Notesp. 275
Bibliographyp. 339
Indexp. 355
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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